Into The Forge...
Studio; Artees' in-development title Forged Adventure feels, out of the gate, very much 'fuss-free'. No matter what the genre, being able to jump into the gameplay of a title without feeling like you've been tasked with an elongated period of busy work is nearly always a welcomed aspect.
The charming animations were the first thing to grab my attention. The way the characters jump from square to square à la Crypt Of The Necromancer, enables a method of turn based playing that never feels broken up or stilted, but smooth and pleasantly brisk. Hopping straight into some map exploration, the game wasted no time in engaging me with a quest giver of whom to accompany on an endeavour to slay a beast of "magnificent proportions". After an initial defeat (probably from getting too carried away with the game-mechanics expedient nature) I returned. This time playing a little more tactically.
Island Hopping Adventures
For every step you 'jump' when navigating the playing field in Forged Adventure, the npc's do so to. Simply moving towards an enemy will initiate a sword swipe or an arrow release depending on your distance to it. At times, I felt that I had to 'hope for the best' in some altercations, mainly because it's tricky to get a good enough idea whether your equipped weapon (changed swiftly by a button press) is strong enough to defeat your foe. This isn't a huge gripe though, as the map is awash with save stones so ensuring one remembers to visit them frequently enough, death is never followed by a great deal of retread.
Artees have plumped for the malady of ship wreck induced amnesia on which to build the story. Our main guy has washed up on the shore of Gramdon; an Island fraught with civil discontent to the point of being on the brink of all out war. Pulled from the shipwreck by an old fisherman we are brought up to speed on the surrounding area and its general state of unrest. Without a great deal more to go on, the protagonist is off to seek help returning to the big blue. Hopefully with more luck than before.
What followed in my hour or so of playing the current build in its totality, were fantasy archetypes such as hunters in the wild, ransacked villages and resource gathering. I managed to wield three different types of weapon, some magic and even upgraded some of my stats at one of the 'trainers' along the way. The latter being a notable interaction due to a nice level of comedy being thrown into the mix. The teacher in particular was a Monty Python-esque warrior/knight named Borhem who despite my protestations, conceitedly challenged me to a duel. The terms being, that if I win he would reward me with either gold or a skill upgrade as I saw fit. If I lost I would have to, for want of a better phrase, tell him how amazing he is. I found it was possible to return to him for further fights and upgrades however his skill level also ramps each time he's defeated. The character screen which isn't yet implemented will display all skills and their descriptions. Being that magic seemed, when used in offence, one of the most powerful tools at my disposal I'm keen to see how things branch out in that area and indeed which different spells become available.
After somewhat of a word puzzle with a group of locals, the games day/night cycle left me plodding around in the dark, torch in hand. Feeling intrigued by an array of blue glowing stones in the middle of the woods I was left feeling immensely curious as to what the finished game would have in store. The homepage tells us that aside from finishing the main story, the developer will be implementing a roguelike mod which will hopefully add a lot of value to what seems like a very promising title. One of the most standout aspects of Forged Adventure is undoubtedly the music. Scored by Will Goss it evokes a sense of both calm and awe and adds to the experience hugely. With its endearingly melodic tones akin to those of Guild of Dungeoneering, it's no wonder that its available to buy separately.
Forged Adventure will be available on Steam in the first half of 2017. It's currently available on itch.io and GameJolt for $4.99. I'm sure I wont be on the top of GameJolt's leaderboard for long *wink*.